Compassion in World Farming

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Mallard ducklings update!

The little Mallard ducklings that my neighbour & I rescued are growing up fast. As they were trying to splash themselves with water from their drinker so that they could preen their feathers properly, it was time to let them have a shallow tray of lukewarm water & see what their reaction would be. Here's what happened!

As you can see they clearly loved having the water! It made them quite skittish & playful. Hubby & I spent several minutes utterly transfixed by them. Afterwards we made sure they were nice & dry & put a lamp over them to warm them up before bed time. (Excuse the state of the wall behind the ducklings in the video. This is part of an on-going project which is one reason why we aren't too precious about them being in the bedroom with us! No doubt it will be the subject of a later Blog)
It frustrates me sometimes when I read care information for ducks which says that ducks don't necessarily need more than a tray of water. Most especially when I was reading up on Muscovies it seemed that a shallow tray would be all they needed, as Muscovies have less developed oil glands than other ducks. As the picture of Seymour shows, ducks will make do with whatever water source is available! But when you see the sheer pleasure they get when they are able to swim & dabble properly it really is worth while installing a pond for them if at all possible. Even my Muscovies regularly get into the water & have a jolly good old splash - so much for under developed oil glands!

Seymour the Aylesbury duck still gets into this little tray of water despite having 3 ponds to choose from!

We have three 'ponds' in our little field & will install another one when the little Mallards are ready to join the rest of the flock. None of them are very fancy or expensive. One is a recycled fibreglass fish pond & the other two are actually 120 litre plasterer's mortar mixing baths bought cheaply from Ebay. But they do the job rather nicely. To stop the water going stagnant I add Bokashi mud balls to the ponds, which release lots of friendly bacteria to gobble up any sludge at the bottom.

A mortar mixing bath makes a 'pond' big enough for 2 geese to enjoy

If you are wondering how the injured hen is doing, she is eating & drinking but is quite subdued. I hope she will be OK. When she recovers I think I will put her straight up with the rest of my hens rather than back with the other Duracell girls. My other hens aren't likely to bully her in quite such a nasty way. The other Duracell girls are out in the garden again today, still not venturing too far from the shed & still chewing up my rose plants! They all have proper names now, injured hen being Jess, the others being Kitty, Lottie, Molly, Norah & Oprah. With 27 chooks in total now, naming them alphabetically helps me remember all their names!


  1. We had one of those oyster shaped paddling pools/sand pits for many years. We put some stones/small rocks in so the ducks could det out easily. Try Freecycle as this is the type of stuff which regularly comes available.

  2. I looked everywhere for one of those to use as a beginners pool for my ducklings - couldn't find one anywhere! My friend has also been raving about Freecycle, so I'll think I'll give it a go. Thanks for the tip.

  3. here it starts!!....poo and half eaten food mixed with waterand flung all around the house on little webbed feet!!!!!

  4. They certainly do know how to poo!!! Thankfully hubby loves them too so hope not to need a divorce solicitor over this most recent of my animal adventures!!